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“An absolutely grand time.”
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 March 2011

We will definitely be back. We stayed in room 10, which is one of the 2 rooms that has airconditioning. This room is right next to the kitchen, so it tends to be a little noisy with pots and pans in the AM. We knew this before hand, but wanted the airconditioning. My husband gets up before dawn (5:30 AM) and I wear earplugs, so it was not a problem for us. Everyone at the hotel was great! Thanks, Roberto, David, Fredrick, Kristiam and FranKlin for a great vacation. We ate most of our meals at the hotel, the quality and price was as good or better than what was in town. The tour company Gecko Trails has an office right at Banana Azul and they arranged a day trip to Boca del Toro Panama for us. What a great tour!

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Nana9902
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 March 2011

I choose Banana Azul because of all the wonderful reviews. When we arrived, it was like Shangri-La, with the ocean views, beautiful pool and amenities (community fridge, sunscreen, welcome drink, etc). I had mentioned we would check in right away and when we got there our room wasn't ready. Twenty minutes turned into over an hour to do something simple. The lunch was disappointing because the menu is so heavily catered to Americans and is greasy. I don't know about others but I don't want to eat TGI Friday's style food in a foreign country. I was so hoping for rice and beans, plantains, seafood and/or gallo pinto which I never experienced during my long stay. The drinks are great and the bartender, Franklin is wonderful. Also, the fresh coconuts are to die for and are much better than the fad drink you see in the stores. We didn't have dinner here but I hear it was better.
Our room was quaint but ended up being very loud and buggy. Also, we could hear everything our neighbors were doing and saying so it was awkward. In addition, our neighbors were chain smokers so we woke up and went to bed smelling smoke. I would urge management to have the Sloth Cabinas non smoking since they are so close together and share vents. It was really gross. A lot of guests here do smoke and do so a lot so if that bothers you I'm not sure this is for you. Next time I hope to find a non-smoking hotel in CR because people were chain smoking everywhere like crazy.
We loved all the dogs and cats roaming around and the beautiful landscaping. The beach is lovely but has rip tides and dangerously large waves. I urge those that aren't strong swimmers to visit beaches further south of town. If you are a good swimmer, do rent a boogie board for the day. Also, the staff were really friendly and amazing and would go out of their way to accommodate you, even the very nice security guards.
In the end, we liked the hotel much better than the beginning our stay. So the cons were lunch was not great, lack of privacy and far from town. Pros: the reception and pool ares were great places to spend time in and lots of fun, great staff and beautiful views. I recommend going with friends and rooming next to them. Also, the guests were a mixed bag of young couples and older couples and reminded me of the Gatlinburg or Branson crowds. We liked the hotel but it was not for us in the end mostly because of our room. Nothing against the staff or owner as everyone else there seemed to love their stay.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank WineGirlNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2011

We stayed at Banana Azul in mid-February 2011 with three other couples to celebrate our 40th birthdays. The staff could not have been more hospitable, the grounds could not have been more beautiful, the drinks could not have been more freshly squeezed (thanks Franklin!), the rooms could not have been more comfortable, and the vacation could not have been more perfect. Throughout our stay, when telling other vacationers where we were staying, we repeatedly heard, "Oh, we wanted to stay there, but all the rooms were booked." We felt slightly guilty, given we were monopolizing 4 of the limited number of rooms at this small resort. We woke every morning to the birds calling from just off our balcony and wandered down to fabulous morning coffee and a great breakfast. During our stay, we used the boogie boards when we weren't basking in the sun. We had beautiful walks down Playa Negra and surfed, as well. Wildlife included sloths, howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, and toucans - amazing to see just hanging out in the trees. Also - the Jaguar Refuge is a great way to get up close and personal with howler monkeys, just remember to take off your jewelry, or you could lose it to those crafty, curious fellows!

Through Gecko Trail Adventures, which has a desk in Banana Azul, we booked a rafting trip on Rio Pacuare - fun guides who take terrific care of the rafters. On the bus to Puerto Viejo from rafting, our host Miguel gave us a history of Limon and the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Miguel was knowledgeable, friendly, and entertaining - we were so happy to run into him several times during the vacation. Gecko Trail also organized our snorkeling trip to Cahuita National Park, which was another excursion worth booking. Finally, Gecko booked our zipline adventure - holy cow! It's amazing to be up in the rainforest canopy! Indescribable via print - you've just got to see it for yourself. Our advice is, "Feel the fear, and do it anyway!"

Puerto Viejo itself is a great little town with friendly people and delicious food. Our biggest thanks on this trip goes to David and Roberto, both of whom went out of the way to show us support when we learned some difficult news from family back in the States. In his office, Roberto has a story on his wall that I wish I had asked to copy, as it brought a lot of comfort to someone feeling far away from home. All in all, Banana Azul created a romantic time for us as a couple and a fun time as a group. We highly recommend this be your hotel if you are staying on the Southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ocookie99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2011

I had the pleasure of my second stay at the Banana Azul from 2/28/11 thru 3/9/11. As with my first stay last year the time spent at the hotel was the best of any of my travels.
The staff are friendly, helpful and efficient at their prospective jobs. It is just a happy place to lay back and relax. The fellows that man the front desk, David, Fredrick and the new addition, Christiam, (hope I spelled it right), can and do answer any questions and concerns of their guests. They can recommend a place to visit or eat at and have a cab to pick you up in five minutes. These guys are the best. It was always a joy each morning as I came down at 6 AM for my morning cup of wonderful Costa Rican coffee to be greeted by David and his wonderful smile and his greeting of Good Morning Miss LU. One night during dinner we suddenly remembered my sisters birthday. When we went to make the Happy Birthday phone call I ask Christiam if he would sing Happy Birthday to my sister in Spanish. I honestly didn't think he would do it. You know he didn't even hesitate. He said yes and promptly sang to my sister. It was enjoyed by all, especially my sister. Fredrick has a little more on his shoulders these days as he has excepted the General Manager position. He always has time for the guests making sure all is well and that all of their needs are met. I have very much enjoyed Fredricks' quick wit and sense of humor. Thanks Guys!
The rooms are wonderful. The bedroom itself is small, but who spends their time in the room when you have a great deck that overlooks the gardens. The breeze from the Caribbean keeps the room cool at night. We did use the fan, but needed a light blanket.
As far as bugs, yes there are bugs, after all you are in the tropics. I take garlic capulets everyday and in both of my visits I never used bug spray. I think I had two bites this time. They do have this nifty wall plug in that you can use at night that keeps the bugs at bay. Showers had hot water every time I used them. The rooms are cleaned daily unless you specify otherwise. Thanks girls you do a great job.
The bartenders make such great drinks. All of the drinks are made with fresh fruits and ingredients by two experts at their jobs. Anna Rosa makes the best Bloody Mary I have ever had in my life. I know everyone talks about Franklins Mohitos, but I think his smoothies are are the best. I would just say surprise me, I was never disappointed. They also serve lunch and dinner, with the help of Santiago. The ladies in the kitchen prepared wonderful meals everyday. Breakfast is free and always starts out with fresh fruit. I mean fresh fruit, not like we get here back in the states that is picked green then sent to us. Isabel then serves us our morning meal. She is just a ray of sunshine in the morning. Always something different and a great way to start the day. The lunch menu is small, but has a good variety to choose from. My favorite would be the chicken or beef nachos. It is enough for two. Every evening dinner starts with salads that are so beautiful that it is hard to mess them up by eating them. Well not too hard. There is always a choice of three main dishes, plus desert. You will not be disappointed, I am sure.
The grounds are so well cared for by the Rick and his staff. I spent so much time everyday just looking at the huge variety of plants and each day I would see something that I didn't see the day before. It seemed like when I thought I had seen the most perfect plant in the garden I would find another that put me in doubt.
The beach is just a few steps away from the hotel. There are plenty of beach chairs. I always enjoy walking the beach to town. It is about a twenty minute walk or more if you are enjoying the sea view.
Yes all of these things are great and I plan to see them all again someday, but the staff is the best part of the Banana Azul. As I observed them going about their working day it seemed to me I was looking at a large extended family. These folks are the heart and soul of the Banana Azul. I thank you all.
Colin and Roberto you should be proud of the warm and welcoming place you have carved out and added to this little piece of heaven on earth. Thank you.
Love LU

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank wratchet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2011

My husband and I stayed at Banana Azul in Feb 2011 for our honeymoon. This was the best vacation either one of us has ever experienced. The hotel is very clean, the staff couldn't be more friendly, the food is great, the showers are always warm, and you go to bed and wake up listening to the waves and the birds. We easily stayed busy for the 7 days we were at Banana Azul. The tour guides onsite made planning our vacation effortless. A few of our favorite activities included ATV tour, white water rafting, biking into town from the hotel, massage on the beach at the hotel, zip lining, and lounging at the hotel pool with a good book and a great drink from the bar.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank imkeybound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Banana Azul

Address: Playa Negra, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range: $91 - $220 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Banana Azul 3.5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Banana Azul hotel is a small and simple hotel north of town on Playa Negra. The small boutique hotel has been created with care using local products and a philosophy that emphasizes relaxation. We cater to adults, 16 years and over. Blooming gardens adorn the property, as does several freely-hanging hammocks, providing the perfect spot for afternoon napping or leisurely reading. A meandering pond inhabited by fish and turtles flows through portions of the property adding a lighter element to the ongoing natural soundtrack of waves crashing against the shoreline. The hotel consists of 22 beautiful guest rooms with private baths, fans (some with A/C), and free WiFi. Most rooms are on the second floor of the main building, and open onto a large veranda with sweeping ocean views and of the garden. Banana Azul offers its guests a quaint restaurant that serves a complimentary filling breakfast, variety of lunch options and refreshing drinks throughout the day and a relaxing three entre dinner option in a romantic atmosphere at night. Caribe Fun Tours is on site to assist with tours and transportation needs and can assist with a variety of package options including visits to the Arenal Volcano, canopy tours, snorkeling trips, and even rafting excursions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banana Azul Hotel
Banana Azul Puerto Viejo
Hotel Banana Azul Costa Rica/Limon

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